SPJ Calls for New Congress, Prez To Pass Federal Shield Law

December 3, 2008

The Society of Professional Journalists has called on President-elect Obama and the incoming Congress to complete action on federal legislation to protect journalists from being compelled by courts to disclose their confidential sources.

The Bush White House has vowed to veto such legislation. Almost all states have such shield laws, and the attorneys general of 42 states have urged Congress to pass a federal version.

The House passed a shield bill (HR 2102, the "Free Flow of Information Act") by a 398-21 vote on October 16, 2007 — but the Senate failed to muster the 60 votes needed to cut off debate on a similar bill (S 2035) in that chamber.

President-elect Barack Obama co-sponsored the Senate bill and promised during the presidential campaign to support it.

The Society of Environmental Journalists is among the many journalism groups that have supported passage of a federal shield law.